Punjab hub of violence against Christians

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The Constitution of Pakistan does not provide for any punishment for those who misuse the Blasphemy law. In view of the fact that, since 1990’s there has been a dramatic rise in Blasphemy accusations where as some of these have been dealt with extra-Judicially.

 

Christians in Pakistan
Christians in Pakistan

The roots of the Blasphemy laws of Pakistan Penal Code can be traced deep into Indian Penal Code of 1860. The Blasphemy Laws were pioneer by dint of Sections 295-B and 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code at some point in the authoritarian rule of General Zia-ul-Haq.

In the context of a well established Blasphemy law in the country Punjab– the bulkiest province of Pakistan has become home to majority of usage of these laws at the same time as  Punjab is dwelling of almost 81 percent Christians. A bit further than half of Pakistani Christians reside in six districts of Central PunjabLahore, Faislabad, Kasur, Sheikhupura, Gujranwala and Salikot. In keeping with the 1998 Census, a greater part of Christians in the Punjab live in rural areas. What is more, as many as 40 percent of all Christians in Pakistan inhabit Lahore, Karachi and Faisalabad districts; with a momentous mass in urban dwellings.

In line with 1998 Census, the population of religious minorities, in Pakistan, was more or less six Million or 3.7 percent of the overall populace. The Hindus and Christians make up 83 percent of the religious minorities in Pakistan, whilst Hindus outnumbered Christians by a minute edge. 

The seven districts that have put in most to the blasphemy cases are Lahore,   Faisalabad, Sialkot, Kasur, Sheikhupura, Gujranwala and Toba Tek Singh. The entire  population of these districts is 25 Million, out of which five percent are Christians; 50 percent of total Christian population in Pakistan- roughly 2 Million keep their heads above water in these seven districts. But the fact that all of these districts are in Punjab, is an eyebrow raising affair.

A breakdown of 361 cases of blasphemy offences registered by the police between 1986 and 2007 shows that as many as 49 percent cases were registered against non-Muslims.  An aggregation of 21 percent cases was against Christians- and these are those which were judicially tried while at most of times the offender is tried extra-judicially. Out of 361 total cases, in excess of two-thirds cases were found to be originated in the Punjab, The figure of cases and indicted 77 and 69 percent respectively is strangely elevated in the Punjab.  With reference to the 35 districts in the Punjab, police in seven above mentioned districts of central Punjab – had filed 10 or more cases during 1986 and 2007. Thus the districts of Lahore, Faisalabad, Sialkot, Kasur, Sheikhupura, Gujrunwala and Toba Tek Singh contributed most to the controversial list of the Blasphemy accused. 

Forty one percent of all cases registered in terms of Religion embrace 65 percent of suits cataloged against Christians.

Withal, incidents like Shanti Nagar, Gojra, Badami Bagh and Essa Pur Chak 31-10/R flames of anti-Christian riots in Punjab razed properties, houses Churches, Bibles and many lives. This embossed religious intolerance is now beginning to sting the National integration causing fear and disillusion of alienation among the Christians in Pakistan. Majority of them more or less 90% give their consent to abandon Pakistan over the issues of religious intolerance, blasphemy laws and intensifying antagonism in Pakistani society.